Queen's University academic joins Invisible Superheroes at Belfast City Airport

The ICE exhibition welcomes its newest addition, Doctor Sensora, highlighting the impact female civil engineers have made in STEM.

Dr Myra Lydon, and her daughter, with her superhero Doctor Sensora.
ICE 200 logo
Dr Myra Lydon, and her daughter, with her superhero Doctor Sensora.

An academic from Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Myra Lydon, has joined the ICE Invisible Superheroes exhibition at Belfast City Airport as ‘Doctor Sensora’.

The exhibition, sponsored by ICE and construction firm GRAHAM, tells the story of how civil engineers help transform lives, shape the world in which we live, and safeguard the future. 

Dr Lydon’s research at Queen’s focuses on sensors, and her work has helped improve equipment that's used to measure the various strains and pressures that bridges are put under to ensure that the structures are fit for purpose and will not collapse. 

“ICE is delighted to welcome its newest edition to the exhibition. Civil engineers really are superheroes who protect our safety and ensure we have sustainable infrastructure in place which is crucial for our quality of life. 

"Dr Myra Lydon’s work encompasses what Invisible Superheroes is all about," said ICE Northern Ireland Regional Director Richard Kirk. 

Representing women in STEM

“Women in STEM have significantly contributed to civil engineering and it’s fantastic to see this aspect celebrated in the exhibition at Belfast City Airport," he added. 

Dr Myra Lydon, who's a researcher in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast, said:

"I have been researching, developing and testing innovative methods of bridge assessment for the last six years and have just started a new five-year fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). 

“This fellowship, which will be held at Queen’s, provides £600k of funding to develop a digital roadmap of the Northern Ireland road bridge network. I am excited to be working with the Royal Academy as we have a shared passion to promote STEM subjects to primary school children.

“I hope that this exciting exhibition at Belfast City Airport will also act as a catalyst to encourage more primary school children to get excited about STEM subjects and eventually go into the field themselves.”

The year-long exhibition is part of ICE’s bicentenary celebrations, ICE 200, and reaches a huge 11,000 travelling in and out of Northern Ireland per day. 

Real life engineers from the past and present as their cartoon superhero alter-egos include:

•    Doctor Sensora, based on the researcher Myra Lydon from Queen’s University Belfast 
•    The Amazing Structura, based on engineer Vera Donnelly from GRAHAM
•    Thomas Telford, the historic bridge and canal builder, as Colossus
•    Joseph Bazalgette, creator of the London sewers, as Captain Sanitation

ICE has also produced 5,000 free activity packs for children passing through the airport.

The packs include fun facts about civil engineering, brain teasers and games featuring the Invisible Superheroes to inspire the next generation to consider a career in civil engineering.